Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Lone Scout Leads the Way

Sometime during 1909, William D Boyce, a wealthy newspaper publisher in London England, during a stop in London on his way to the British East Africa for a safari, lost his way in the city. An unknown young man offered to help and lead him to his hotel. As was probably his habit, Mr. Boyce offered a tip to the young man who had come to his aid. The young man refused the tip, explaining he could not take money for doing a “good turn,” because he was a Scout.

Mr. Boyce must have asked questions about this organization as he was given the address to the Scout Headquarters. Later on a return trip to London, William D
Boyce went to the Scout Headquarters and collected information about the Scouting program founded by Lord Baden-Powell. Once back in the United States W D Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on 8 February 1910.

The Boy Scouts of American owes its roots to several groups, including Baden-Powell’s Scouts as well as the Sons of Daniel Boone formed in 1905 by Daniel “Uncle Dan” Beard and the Woodcraft Indians formed by Ernest Thompson Seton about 1901 to 1902. Even Baden-Powell based his organization on an earlier organization know as the
Boys’ Brigade formed by William Alexander Smith in 1883, who was influenced by the YMCA.

After the Boy Scouts of America was incorporated, they began to absorb the other similar groups, including the Sons of Daniel Boone and the Woodcraft Indians. W D Boyce included others in the Boy Scout movement to help it grow. That included Daniel Beard, Ernest Thompson Seton, William T. Hornaday, and James West. There was
disagreements among the principals and W D Boyce created the Lone Scouts of America (LSA) and the Rhode Island Boy Scouts, (RIBS). Joseph Lane, a member of RIBS started the Boys Life in 1911, which was purchased a year later by BSA. The LSA and RIBS were later absorbed into BSA. The RIBS exist today and the Narragansett Council of
the Boy Scouts of America.

No one may ever know who that lone Boy Scout was that dark night in 1909 who helped William D Boyce. But there is no doubt he was the match that struck the fire to the carefully prepared foundation that would become the Boy Scouts of America. As we look back, we must be thankful for that “divine spark” that continues to burn one hundred years later. Happy Birthday Boy Scouts of America, and Thank you Lone Scout.

No comments: